Friday, September 28, 2012

Help My Dog Is Out Of Control (or is it my trainer who's out of control?)

This morning I reposted a couple of my training ads on Craigs List.  Not 10 minutes had gone by when one of the local shock collar/ aversive trainers flagged the post and put up a smart ass post about how positive reinforcement training and behaviorists are full of crap.

Since this blog is really here for me to let off steam and the ones who actually follow this blog know this - here is my response:

It's really funny that someone who attended a 6 week class either a year ago or so says something like this. I guess 40 years of experience, 5 years at a University and continual study mean nothing so long as you have a diploma for learning 30 things in 6 weeks.
Definitely check out your trainers, don't rely on self proclaimed results. NO ONE gets 100% and sometimes that "rehabilitation" is really just a dog that has been so beaten down with "corrections" "stims from an electronic training collar" "or forced no matter what to comply".
It goes both ways here. I get tons of people from trainers like this who are totally dissatisfied with the results because they can't reproduce them at home or because they didn't actually work. Sure, there are some of my clients who go to trainers like this - the ones looking for a magic wand, the ones who don't care what they do to their dog to "fix" the problem - the ones who refuse to do any work themselves and expect someone else to do it.

Does my way take longer? No. But it does last because it's not just beating the dog down but actually teaching a dog something. Is obedience not part of my lexicon? NO, I teach much much more then just 6 commands of sit, down, stay, come, heel and stand - but I teach them also. I teach self control, confidence, focus, and a plethora of behaviors (what trainers like this one call tricks) that assist a dog in knowing how to live in a human world.
A little history here. Dogs have been working partners to man for 1000's of years. Obedience training didn't come about until WWII when the military needed dogs trained fast fast fast and obedience training was the result - all with the use of force, compulsion, privation, and pain. The history of the argument between trainers who use force, intimidation and pain and those who use rewards is nearly as long as the history of dogs working with humans.

So do your homework, don't just look at the surface, check out the trainers that interest you thoroughly and make sure you can live with the methods they choose to use. Any training will work - but is it worth the result?

I am proud to actually say who I am and what I believe in - is he? Or does he hide the actual methods that he uses behind words like "rehabilitation", "balanced", "it's just a tap on the shoulder".

PS: You'll notice that he flagged my post and yet I haven't flagged his and won't. Is his sour grapes really that he believes he is right or is he just afraid of competition?



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